LEADERSHIP IN A TRINITARIAN ECCLESIOLOGY

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CHAPTER THREE LEADERSHIP IN A TRINITARIAN ECCLESIOLOGY

 INTRODUCTION

This chapter gives a basic idea of the leadership paradigm shifts over the last 50 years as described by Avery and others. Being Church does not mean that the leadership paradigms from the first century must be followed to be Biblical; the paradigms, moves and changes are noted. It also investigates the acceptability of contemporary leadership styles and how it fits into the Trinitarian ecclesiology and the ability to build a successful and effective, twenty first century, Missional Church. Emerging leadership styles like Organic and Relational Leaderships are discussed with a specific focus on Relational leadership and how the loving relationship within the Trinity is shared with the world. From the God of love through Jesus Christ the son, by the Spirit, touching and changing the world in love, the Church is living the missio Dei. Relational leadership uses this model of Trinitarian relationships to help, motivate and strengthen the Church to live a life in relationship with the Triune God. This study provides a theological base for relational leadership as an integral part of missional leadership which is the aim of this study. As described in the previous chapter, the Trinity forms the basis and example for all relationships. God is a relational God and is as such involved in His Church.
As planned, this chapter provides leadership development insights to help Church leaders improve their relational skills in order to successfully manage change and lead congregations and organisations to be missional and relevant.
This chapter also puts together the researcher’s relational leadership theory described with an example and organisational structure of such a relational leadership style. It unpacks the praxis of Relational Leadership within the Trinitarian understanding of Church and missions and sets a foundation for the understanding of Relational Leadership.
Seen through the eyes of the religious community, the Church offers highly desirable and respected titles and positions to those in leadership. While the coveting of such a position is not wrong in itself, Maxwell makes it clear that this practice put ambitious people in positions they weren’t ready to fill. Added to the necessary skills obtained from typical clergy training to teach the Bible, manage the Church and grow the business, Church leaders need a calling and relationship with God to be missional and « do » people development that changes the lives of those around them (Maxwell 1995:Kindle 161-164; McNeal 2009:11).
Positional leaders may have authority because of a specific title, but real leadership is more than having authority; it is about “being the person others will gladly and confidently follow” (Maxwell 1995:Kindle 224-235). The Church cannot be managed by people with authoritative positions and titles but can only be led through relational leadership and leaders that are in an honest and open relationship with their followers. The ability to work with people has less to do with position than with disposition because “it will influence the way the followers think and feel” (Maxwell 1995:Kindle1753). Barna (2009:Kindle261) is adamant when he says that leadership is not about the position as it’s based on who the person is and the capabilities he or she demonstrates. Quoting a friend, Barna underlines the idea that with “leadership in any position”, character comes first because skills can be learned (Barna 2009:Kindle2214).
With leadership being a function and not a title or position (Cole 2009:Kindle2438; Sweet 2004:34, 2012:34, 2012b:63; Breedt 2009:65,105), any person of the group can be a leader at the right time at the right place. Shared leadership is imperative in the complex world where societies and organisations find themselves today (REC 2005a:37). The Bible uses the body metaphor (Romans 12) to describe the multiple functions needed for the Church to function properly. No body part can be the other and every “one” acts as servant leader to the rest of the body, serving the whole body by giving support and assistance where needed while taking responsibility for each other. No part of the body can be replaced by another, as the body is carefully woven together and in fact only finds its true marvellous meaning and function, as an integral part of the body.
Robin Sharma, the founder of Sharma Leadership International Inc., a global consultancy that helps people in organisations, became known worldwide after he wrote the book Leader without a title. He’s message is: “You don’t need a title to show some leadership. You just don’t” (Sharma 2010:23). The postmodern environment of today’s business world accepts the fact that “leadership is no longer a lone-ranger function” (REC 2005a:37) and the world is suspicious of people who uses their authoritative position to control others. The writer agrees with Blanchard that many people in the world provide constant leadership while holding no leadership positions, just as there are others who hold leadership positions without exerting much leadership at all (Blanchard 2004:Kindle200).
Most of the traditional Church-based leaderships are well entrenched in a clergy-dominated leadership culture that can be described as institutional, positional and highly controlling. While Sweet’s “Gutenberg Generation” which can be described as being more traditional, is still happy with this situation. The “Googlers” as described by Sweet as the younger upcoming generation which is more comfortable with the electronic media, sees many of the Church’s leadership as totally “out of sync” (McNeal 2009:131; Sweet 2012b:52). In his latest book, Viral, Sweet makes it clear that the importance of relationship in the Google culture cannot be over-emphasised (Sweet 2012b:4,7,9,15,17,21,23,30, 31). Yet, in many Western societies there are still large hierarchical controlled Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations with large numbers of the younger generation (leadership groups of two of such congregations were interviewed by the researcher during his focus group sessions). Sweet’s viewpoint thus might be more complex than is suggested, as many people in different areas in the world find themselves caught between Sweet’s Gunterberg- and Googler generations.
In the old world, authority and credibility were built on titles and status. Power and the hierarchical models of organisational life made it possible for leaders to rely on positional authority. In today’s world it is built on relationship and trust; the constant growing generation of “Googlers”, which is a relational generation, leaves the Church no other option than to take time to improve the relational intelligence of their leaders. To be relationally intelligent, the world must shift from a positional authoritative mind-set to the crucial leadership mind-set of relational authority (McNeal 2009:146; Saccone 2009:10).
The Church belongs to God. “First, the Church isn’t ours; it’s God’s. And second, it isn’t ours; it’s us” (McLaren 2000:7). He is the initiator of the Church, the example and model on which the Church should function. The Church was birthed from the heart of the Trinity to be the extension of His love to the world; to become part of the missio Dei and agent of His initiative. He, God, – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – is the Leader of His Church and Church leadership is spreading the Trinitarian way of the leadership function. The equality, missionality and relationality, not only set the example and model on which the Church should function (Volf & Welker 2006:226, Grenz 2004:125,132,162), this is also the way leadership should function.
The Great Commission is all about the relationship and relational words like authority, disciple and « with you » are used. When Jesus sent His Church out into the world before His ascension in Matthew 28, He started off by saying that all authority was given to Him: a statement that suggests a relationship between Him and the Father. The sending of the Church comes with a direct relational command, to make disciples and baptising them, and ends with a relational promise of being with them as they go, to the end of time.
Then Jesus came to them and said, « All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age » (Matthew 28:18-20) The relational substance of the Great Commission is what makes it plausible and this commission is not a project or obligation but rather an ongoing relationship with Christ: “as you are going with me, hearing me, being me, following me, draw others into our relationship” (Sweet 2009:111). Missionality is more than a project or task to accomplish, it is a relational lifestyle that will set the captives free, provide hope for the hopeless and discouraged, heal the sick, provide a home for the homeless and belonging for the lonely (Sweet 209:112).
« God is love » and that makes Him a relational God. His Church is a relational body because in the incarnation of the Trinity, it also is love, beauty, truth and goodness. Love cannot exist without grace which « is the second-most relational word in the Christian vocabulary” (Sweet 2009:121). Grace is God’s way of sharing His Kingdom with the Church and the only way for the Church to successfully approach the world while sharing the wonderful love of God that is available for all mankind.
The functions, roles and leadership characteristics of all three persons of the Trinity will be taken into consideration when defining a relational leadership style. It will also continue to unpack the praxis of relational leadership within the Trinitarian understanding of Church and missions.

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MISSIONS AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE TRINITY’S RELATIONAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE CHURCH.

Imago Trinitates and Ecclesiology

The Imago Trinitatis links with the ecclesiology where relationships would be most evident. The relationships within the Triune God, and the relationships between people and the calling of the Church to make a difference in the world, makes Christology and Pneumatology both important; Christ being the centre of historic events and the Holy Spirit helping the Church to focus on the present and future. Because the relationship between Father, Son and Spirit is real, it must be mirrored within the ecclesiology. It is because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that a relationship between people and people, and the Trinity and people, can be accomplished. The Church’s understanding of the involvement of the Three persons is demonstrated through several metaphors in Scripture, the most famous being: people of God (1 Peter 2:9), body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) and the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).
« The differentiation between Father, Son and Spirit describes the rich relations of the divine reality of the biblical history of God: the Father reveals the Son, the Son reveals the Father, and sends the Spirit of life from the Father. The Father communicates the Son, and the Son reveals the Father, and the Spirit of the Father radiates from the Son into the world » (Moltmann 2010:150).
« God is relational and is the Triune One” (Grenz 2000:87). The Father who wants us to enjoy fellowship with Him, made possible by the Son, brings us into participation of that relationship by the Holy Spirit. As a human being, being part of the Church, that person becomes the « image of God » and takes on « God’s way of being ». This is the « way of being » that relates with the world, other people and with God and culminates in an event of communion that can never be the « achievement of an individual, but only as an ecclesial fact » (Kärkkainen 2002:Kindle 992-5).
Sweet gives his idea of the Trinitarian involvement in relationships: « We don’t serve a propositional, attractional, or colonial God. We serve a missional, relational, and incarnational God. God cannot be God in propositions. God can only be God in relationships » (2009:120).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACT
CHAPTER ONE: THE RESEARCH PARADIGM
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND
1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.5 HYPOTHESIS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE
1.7 AIM
1.8 OBJECTIVES
1.9 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
1.10 POSITION OF THE RESEARCHER
1.11 CENTRAL CONCEPTS
1.12 PREVIEW OF THE DISSERTATION STRUCTURE
CHAPTER TWO: TRIUNE GOD – RELATIONAL AND MISSIONAL
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 GOD IS A TRINITY
2.3 TRINITARIAN RENAISSANCE
2.4 RELATIONAL TRINITY
2.5 EQUALITY WITHIN THE TRINITY
2.6 RELATIONAL TRINITARIAN ECCLESIOLOGY
2.7 THE TRINITY AND RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP
2.8 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER THREE: LEADERSHIP IN A TRINITARIAN ECCLESIOLOGY
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 MISSIONS AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE TRINITY’S RELATIONAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE CHURCH
3.3 THE CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP PARADIGMS
3.4 MISSIONAL LEADERSHIP
3.5 RELATIONAL LEADERSHI
3.6 UNITING RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND THE MISSIONAL CHURCH.
3.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER FOUR: QUALITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN AND DATA ANALYSIS
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 THE QUALITATIVE RESEARCH PARADIGM
4.3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.4 DATA COLLECTION
4.5 DATA ANALYSIS
4.6 THEMES, CODING AND COMMENTARY
4.7 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF DATA
4.8 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER FIVE: SYNOPSIS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 TWO SHIPS, TWO LEADERS, TWO ENDINGS
5.3 SUMMARY AND INSIGHTS GAINED THROUGH THIS STUDY
5.4 THE RESEARCH QUESTION
5.5 SHORTCOMINGS AND LIMITATIONS
5.6 RECOMMENDATIONS
5.7 CONCLUDING REMARKS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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